It’s at times like this when you really wish you had a digital camera. I went to see a flat today in Mornington Crescent with a friend of mine, and was so horrified and depressed by what I saw that I needed an extremely stiff vodka and tonic. Imagine a room ten feet by twelve feet on the top floor of a crumbling building where not even the banisters are stable enough for you to put any weight on. Stick a bed in this room. Give it a view over the back of some crumbling estate. Add low ceilings, a bathroom big enough to fit a bath in, which they apparently did in the thirties and a kitchen that fits into a cupboard. Imagine the most depressing site you’ve ever seen in your life.
I’ve lived in a lot of places in my life. Some haven’t had paint on the walls, some have had damp walls behind the bed. But none have been as soul-destroying as this place. There’s no way I could do it. And this is where we find ourselves – in a world where people in London have to be earning forty or fifty thousand pounds a year before they can afford to get a mortgage and where the average wage in London is around half that. And where you pay over £500 a month for the privilege of living in a hole in the ground.